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LAUSD’s Beyond the Bell program wins prestigious Air Force award

Craig Clough | September 26, 2014

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LAUSD Beyond the Bell ProgramLA Unified’s Beyond the Bell program received some national recognition last week when it was honored with the prestigious Hoyt S. Vandenberg Award from the Air Force Association.

The program was the first educational institution to receive the award, which for 66 years has recognized achievements by individuals or institutions in the U.S. Air Force, government, academia and the aerospace industry. Past honorees include generals, congressmen, the Air Force Institute of Technology, Ross Perot, Jr. and TV personality Arthur Godfrey.

Beyond the Bell, LA Unified’s before- and after-school academic program, was recognized for advancing more teams to the finals of CyberPatriot: The National Cyber Security Competition than any other school district in North America. North Hollywood High’s team won the CyberPatriot National Championship earlier this year, beating 620 other teams. The cyber defense competition tests students’ abilities to protect computers and networks from hackers.

Alvaro A. Cortés, Executive Director of Beyond the Bell Los Angeles, flew to Washington, DC last week to accept the award, according to a LA Unified press release.

“It is such an honor to receive this Award,” Cortés said in a statement. “We firmly believe that providing education for students interested in careers in cyber security is of the utmost importance.”

Over 178,000 students participate in Beyond the Bell each day in over 600 schools, according the district’s website. The program provides academic, recreational and enrichment programs for students.

News of the award comes as some 300 Beyond the Bell students are preparing to attend tomorrow’s CyberDay LA at Cal Poly Pomona, which kicks off this school year’s CyberPatriot competition, according to the release. General George Muellner, Chair of the Air Force Association, is scheduled to deliver the keynote address to the students.

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